My husband and I started a fun anniversary tradition after getting married in September 2010. Each year we alternate whose turn it is to plan a surprise getaway adventure. Our tradition is simple, but makes each anniversary exciting and allows one person to take charge of the planning while the other can relax and enjoy the wonderful surprise. This year is our 9th anniversary and my year to plan so I hope you find inspiration in our story and incorporate a lil’ fun and adventure into your next celebration!
I picked Basin Harbor because it is conveniently located less than 1.5 hours from our home in Stowe, VT and I knew they shared a similar love of traditions. The resort has been owned and operated by the same family for 4 generations, starting in 1886. All the personal touches, warmth, and hospitality make you feel like family. We could not have been more impressed with the level of service and attention to detail.As we ventured off toward Lake Champlain, Bob offered his guesses of where he thought we were going this year. To throw him off, I made a few strategic wrong turns. Having a fun secret can be quite exciting. We pulled into Basin Harbor around 10am, Bob was surprised and quite excited!Our first activity was a narrated boat cruise on Lake Champlain aboard the EScape. Our Captain gave us and another sweet couple from St. Louis a personalized hour and a half tour of the lake explaining its history and providing details on the beautiful homes along the water. We loved this tour, the amazing views and great company.The October temperatures in Vermont have definitely cooled off so I was pretty chilled at the completion of our boat tour. One of my favorite things about Basin Harbor is that you can walk everywhere so we strolled on up to the Red Mill Restaurant to warm up and grab a bite to eat. I started with the Soup Du Jour (a creamy Potato Leak) that warmed me right up. Bob enjoyed the Cod Fish Tacos with creamy guacamole and spicy mango salsa. I also devoured the Kale and Braised Beet Salad with apples, walnuts and goat cheese. Yum!Post lunch we walked over to the Main Lodge just to see if an early check-in might be possible. I always feel so darn awkward asking for stuff like that but the front desk made us feel so welcome, explaining all the details of the property, and got us situated right away in the MOST amazing private waterfront cottage. There are 74 cottages on the property, each with unique names and layouts. We stayed in the SUNDIAL Cottage, which was somewhat unassuming from the outside, but absolutely stunning on the interior. Cathedral ceilings on the living room open out to an incredible 180 degree view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack mountains from your private deck. The king bed was super comfortable and positioned perfectly with another gorgeous view of the lake.Since we started our Anniversary tradition nine years ago we have played tennis almost every year. As I continue my journey to full recovery from my knee surgery I was excited to try playing again for the first time in two years. I took it very easy but it felt so good to be back on the court.After tennis we had some time before our dinner reservation so we enjoyed the sweetest anniversary welcome gift from BH while watching the sunset over the lake and Adirondacks. Bob is a Beer guy so we got him the resort’s special Basin Harbor Red Chair Ale to accompany the amazing bottle of prosecco. One deep thought from this relaxing afternoon was how calming it is to be still and watch the repetitive movement of the Lake. It brought us back to a similar feeling sitting on our roof deck in Charleston, MA of being still and having nowhere to go while watching the city fly by on the highway off in the distance. It’s a good feeling to be still.One of the traditions of Basin Harbor that I was most excited for was our dressy casual dinner at Ardelia’s. It is an old BH tradition to dress up for dinner to enjoy the exceptional dining experience and this ironically paired perfectly with my silly tradition to wear some part of our wedding attire every anniversary. I’m a dork I know but there is something so special about thinking back to that moment and special day, the dresses are a bit tighter these days, and one year I could only wear my orange ballet flats but it’s a tradition I find hard to give up. Both Bob and I agreed my Braised Beef Stew and Dumplings entree with parsley roasted potatoes, and rosemary demi-glace was the best. We finished dinner off much like our wedding with apple crisp ala mode, no wedding cake for this couple! Our hostess who warmly welcomed us by wishing us a happy anniversary even added a chocolate message on our dessert, personal touches like this filled our stay and made us feel so incredibly pampered and welcome. After a short walk home we enjoyed a nightcap by our fire and reveled in our amazing day…I know because I accidentally recording most of the conversation on my phone (ha!).Coffee on the sun porch is not to be missed, on a beautiful day you can watch the boats passing by and on a rainy morning like we had it is just as delightful to sit and relax. The breakfast buffet in the lakeview dining room was unreal. I am usually a hot cereal and toppings breakfast girl but the omelet station was so impressive that I opted to build my own omelet instead and was not disappointed.Our final adventure before heading back home was a run to Button Bay, if you follow the Button Bay trail it’s a 2 mile journey, we took the road less traveled and managed closer to 3 miles, out to the point and back along the golf course. If you are considering a visit to Basin Harbor their season runs from mid May through mid October so make a quick visit or start planning your adventure for 2020!Things I have learned: Surprises make everything more fun. You don’t need a lot of time…30hrs of kid free time felt like an entire week—it’s remarkable what you can do without kids in tow. That said I am excited to go back to Basin Harbor with the kids to start building a family tradition. A Sunday-Monday getaway was AMAZING because I had less Mom guilt around leaving my kids, we got to spend Saturday morning with the boys and picked them up from school a little early on Monday! You don’t need to travel far to enjoy time with your partner, why waste time traveling when you have fun right outside your doorstep.